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Saint Lucian woman Flore Bois Gaillard defeated and expelled British in 1700s

By SNO Staff

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(SNO) — Probably a lot of Saint Lucians have not heard the name Flore Bois Gaillard but her name has gone down in history in association with the Battle of Rabot which took place in 1745 in Soufriere.

According to an article published on Face2Face Africa, Gaillard was an enslaved mulatto who worked for her owner Master Bellac, for several years on his plantation.

She later worked in his home as a maidservant when she was a little older.

“There are no found records about her early childhood, however, it is safe to say that being a mulatto, she was born on the island to an enslaved black mother who was impregnated by a white man,” the article said.

In 1791, enslaved Africans teamed up with the Maroons in Soufrière, which at that time served as the capital of Saint Lucia, to march and request their freedom from British slave owners.

But things did not go as planned and the march was immediately reported to the British officials who ordered the leaders to be captured.

The article stated that the leaders were captured and tortured to death. Their heads were cut off and placed on spikes and displayed around Soufriere to serve as a warning to others who planned on doing the same thing.

But the incident was not forgotten and many slaves planned and hoped for revenge.

St Lucia stamp in honor of the 1797 Battle of Rabot

In 1773, after having enough of the harsh treatment and several rape incidents with her owner, Gaillard managed to escape from the plantation and took refuge in the woods, the article said.

There she met several Maroons and began living with them.

She quickly rose as the military leader for the French Army of the Woods, a rebel group made up of Maroons and slaves who met secretly to plan a rebellion and declare Saint Lucia a free country after getting rid of the British.

On April 11, 1795, Gaillard and her army went to Soufriere to attack slave owners which is known as the Battle of Rabot.

The Face2Face Africa articles said the battle was successful in killing several British slave owners, burning down plantations and freeing several slaves who later joined the army which became known as the Brigands.

Gaillard then went to kill her former master and burn down his plantation, while the remaining British fled to Castries.

But it was not over for Gaillard, with the support of the French politician and colonial administrator Jean-Baptiste Victor Hugues, she and her army joined the First Brigands War.

This saw the total defeat of the British on June 19, 1795, and led to them completely leaving Saint Lucia marking the year of liberation (l’Année de la Liberté) for all blacks on the island.

Nothing was recorded about Gaillard after the war, and it is unknown whether she died in battle or escaped.

(43)(0)
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8 comments

  1. Wow that short paragraph was more interesting than most of what i learned in History classes at school. We need this stuff taught at our school right now

    (8)(0)
  2. Dear writer,

    I welcome your contribution on enlightening the reading public on this important figure in saint Lucia's turbulent history. It would have been even more enlightening to add that Piton Flore was named after this remarkable woman. She was one of the leaders of L'armee Francaise des Bois. I place below a link to an article posted on Culture Egalite, however it is in French. It may be easier for those ardent French readers out there but equally, I hope English speakers find this link an encouragement to dabble a little in La Langue Francaise.

    https://www.cultureegalite.fr/flore-gaillard/

    (4)(2)
    • Saint Lucians from pre-primary school through to secondary school should be TAUGHT three foreign languages, English, French, and Spanish. At least those three foreign languages.

      Time to take control of our culture, rather than all that has been handed down by our slave owners. Rename. Rename. Rename. Arthur Lewis should be the name for Vieux Fort. Derek Walcott should be the name for Castries or vice versa.

      Let our future generations be inspired by those who walked with us during our emergence as a nation.

      (4)(0)
  3. we need these taught in schools

    (9)(1)
  4. So why did the French repay the Saint Lucians by giving the island back to the British in the last exchange? Until recently, almost every place name in Saint Lucia was French. Why do we have to keep Castries and Laborie for example, as place names?

    Why must we keep those French names? Why? Caucasians to this very day only know liberty, as something belonging to Caucasians only.

    We are not independent until those names are dumped, just as they dumped us. Give the indigenous people some respect get their place names on the map too.

    (7)(8)
  5. The maroon was moors also are slave, the slave plantation worker force from consensual work to indentured works (SLAVE)

    (0)(1)
  6. One Day St Lucians will be freed to from Chastanet and Guy.

    (9)(60)

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